Though many experienced bakers wouldn’t be caught dead using it, boxed cake mix doesn’t deserve the bad reputation it seems to have earned. Boxed cake mixes are cheap, quick, and easy. The end result might not be quite as good as cake from your local bakery, but there are tons of ways to improve boxed cake mix so that it tastes like it’s made from scratch. Whether you want to make a better cake or make a different kind of dessert entirely, read on to see how to improve boxed cake mix.

How to Make a Better Cake

Make it richer using milk, butter, and extra eggs

egg, chicken, egg yolk
Jocelyn Hsu

Boxed cake mix generally calls for water, oil, and eggs. Replacing the water with milk and the oil with (twice as much) butter, as well as cracking in an extra egg or two might not be the healthiest boxed mix hack, but it will make your cake as moist and delicious as those made from scratch in a bakery.

There are other ways to make your cake richer, too – try adding instant pudding mix (in the same flavor as your boxed mix or a complementary one), sour cream, or even mayonnaise.

Make it healthier by replacing oil with applesauce

sweet, dairy product, jam, apple
Felice Segall

Understandably, you might not be looking to add twice the fat to your boxed mix. Using applesauce may not make your cake healthy exactly, but it will at least be a little less bad for you – and still tasty. 

Make it prettier by adding color

candy, chocolate, cream, cake, sweet, sprinkles, goody
Kaitlin Wheeler

From bagels to beverages, rainbow is having a huge moment in the foodie world.  Whether you use food-safe dyes or natural coloring from produce such as beets and carrots, colors are a great and impressive way to make boxed cake mix more exciting.

Make it more fun with creative fillings and toppings

candy, sprinkles, cake, chocolate, sweet, goody, cream, sweetmeat
Paige Marie Rodgers

Cake and frosting are a classic duo, but have you tried topping your cake with meringue, ganache, or even cookie dough? What about filling it with candy, fruit, or ice cream? Check out this article for non-frosting topping ideas, or this article to learn how to make piñata cakes like the one pictured above.

How to Make Your Boxed Cake Mix Into Something Else Entirely


chocolate, cookie, sweet, candy, pastry, cake
Naib Mian

When the craving for fresh-baked cookies hits, not even the most delicious of cakes or other desserts can satisfy. Next time you find yourself with a cookie craving, you should still grab some cake mix so that you can make these three-ingredient cake mix cookies


chocolate, cream, cake, sprinkles
Elizabeth Philip

The perfect breakfast for your birthday. Or for any day, really. Get the recipe here.


milk, coffee, cream, sweet, milkshake, yogurt, ice, dairy, smoothie, cappuccino
Andrea Kang

Why eat your cake when you could drink it? Cake batter ice cream has become popular in recent years – take it one step further with a cake batter milkshake


cereal, corn, wheat, popcorn, millet, rice
Constance Connolly

Sweet popcorn treats like kettle corn and caramel corn have been popular since the 18th or 19th century. While these classics have been beloved for years, this more non-traditional cake batter popcorn could just be your new favorite.


cake, cream, butter, chocolate
Constance Connolly

This recipe is perfect for dipping graham crackers and animal crackers (and your fingers, when nobody is looking). With only five ingredients and no cooking necessary, this cake batter dip is one of the easiest, most delicious things you can make with boxed cake mix.


doughnut, sweet, pastry, chocolate, sprinkles, candy, cake, cookie
Phoebe Melnick

Pretty much every flavor in the world tastes good in donut form, from chocolate to bacon. Funfetti tastes good in the form of pretty much any dessert (check out these churro and fudge funfetti recipes). So, naturally, these double-glazed Funfetti donuts are sure to be a great use for your Funfetti cake mix.


sweet, cake, pastry, chocolate, candy, pie, cookie
Lauren Kruchten

Little known fact: blondies have actually been around longer than brownies. These blondies, though, which are made with boxed cake mix (and sprinkles for a Funfetti effect), are a bit more of a recent invention.


sprinkles, chocolate, candy, cake, milk, cream
Steven Baboun

Put the fun in Funfetti with these cake shots. Rim your shot glasses with chocolate, or better yet, just use chocolate chip cookie shot glasses.

Next time a loved one has a birthday (or you just feel like eating some cake), you don't need to slave over a cake from scratch or spend tons of cash at your trendy local bakery. You can be a foodie and still use boxed cake mix, especially if you're a college student without tons of time or money. Use these hacks to improve boxed cake mix and not even the biggest dessert snobs will know you didn't make it from scratch.